LeBron James looks to make a play against the Warriors on 5/19/21.
Adam Pantozzi/NBA E

LeBron Drills Dagger 3, Lakers Clinch: Hello Playoffs

by Taylor Geas

The guys have been putting in overtime to punch their ticket to the playoffs. And tonight, the team took the floor and faced the 39-33 Golden State Warriors. Thanks for your patience, your defending champs officially clinched a playoff spot after defeating the Warriors 103-100.

It was an unbelievable battle, with an unbelievable shot from LeBron James (22 pts, 11 reb, 10 ast) to call the game. With one minute left, and 34 feet out, LeBron squared up and let it fly. He knocked down a perfect swish, it was legendary, a moment in time that will go down in Lakers History.

Golden State started this game with some serious firepower. They've been running through the same eight guys for nearly a month. Their defense was strict, and their three-point shooting was precise, they held the lead for almost the entire game.

The Lakers, on the other hand, started the game with five guys that have only started together three times this season — three times. But then, after one minute into the fourth, the Lakers finally took the lead from their opponent. "Here we come," Coach Frank Vogel announced to his team during a timeout in the third — and they did.

This game was positioned as an LBJ vs. Stephen Curry (37 pts, 7 reb) showdown, and that's exactly what it was. These two have danced in the postseason for years and this evening the playoff vets and their respective teams battled it out for a seat at the table.

LBJ was hovering playoff mode at STAPLES Center tonight. He notched a triple-double and hit the iconic dagger three — need we say more? Call upon the King in the clutch and he will come. Bron was a finisher, a team player, and a ruthless defender. King James spoke postgame how the Warriors, "hit us in the mouth in the first half, and we just had to respond, and we did that." They did that.

Bron's counterpart, Anthony Davis (25 pts, 12 reb) led his team in points despite tight coverage from Draymond Green. Davis was being turned away in the paint, but he still found a way to get through, and he used other means (signature mid-range floater) to knock down the shot. Defensively speaking, Davis at the five changed everything for the Lakers. Their second-half defense was champion's caliber. "We take pride in being the number one defense in the league," Coach V said during the game.

This game may not have gone the way it went without Alex Caruso (14 pts) though. AC might not have been driving the car, but he was the gasoline that kept it going. Caruso led his team in points in the first half and played the most insightful defense for 30 minutes. In the end, AC was tasked with guarding Steph, he did so masterfully. LeBron said of his guy, "His attention to detail. He's just smart. Knows what we want him to do. Always in the right place at the right time. He just makes plays. Some in the box score, some don’t."

Now, it's that time. There is one thing on everyone's mind and that's to defend the crown. The Lakers begin their playoff journey Sunday against the Phoenix Suns. Yes, you heard that right, Lakers vs Suns in playoffs — a tale as old as time.

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